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SourceTropical Medicine & International Health, 11, 5, (2006), pp. 654-9
Article / Letter to editor
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Tropical Medicine & International Health
SubjectEBP 3: Effective Primary Care and Public Health; N4i 3: Poverty-related infectious diseases; NCEBP 13: Infectious diseases and international health; NCEBP 7: Effective primary care and public health
OBJECTIVE: Mutual Health Organizations (MHO) emerged in Ghana in the mid-1990s. The organizational structure and financial management of private and public MHO hold important lessons for the development of national health insurance in Ghana, but there is little evidence to date on their features. This paper aims at filling this data gap, and at making recommendations to Ghanaian authorities on how to stimulate the success of MHO. METHODS: Survey among 45 private and public MHO in Ghana in 2004-2005, asking questions on their structure, financial management and financial position. RESULTS: Private MHO had more autonomy in setting premiums and benefit packages, and had higher community participation in meetings than public MHO. MHO in general had few measures in place to control moral hazard and reduce adverse selection, but more measures to control fraud and prevent cost escalation. The vast majority of schemes were managed by formally trained and paid staff. The financial results varied considerably. CONCLUSIONS: Ghanaian authorities regulate the newly established public MHO, but may do good by leaving them a certain level of autonomy in decision-making and secure community participation. The financial management of MHO is suboptimal, which indicates the need for technical assistance.
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